Dance The Night Away
Grace might not admit it out loud, but she was nervous. All of her friends were telling her how important senior prom was, how she would be depressed forever if she didn't go. How she would look back on this time and regret not going. But none of them could tell her how to get a boy to ask her to prom. All the boys in her school knew who her Danno was, knew who his husband was. She was girl non-grata as far as the boys were concerned. It didn't matter how popular, how smart, how outgoing, how sporty or how pretty she was. All they saw were the looming presences of her Dads.
She had never been asked out. In fact the only dances she had ever gone to were the Daddy Daughter dances. This wouldn't normally bother her. She didn't feel like she needed a boyfriend to define who she was, or to even be happy. She knew who she was and who she wanted to be. She had an amazing family, an amazing Ohana, and a group of friends who had stuck by her since that first disastrous Aloha Girls camping trip.
“You don’t have any guys asking,” questioned Lucy.
Grace signed and collapsed back into the sand, looking up at the palm tree standing sentinel over them. “None.”
“That sucks.” Lucy took a long drink from her water bottle and looked out over the waves and the group of friends still out on their boards. “You could go stag? I mean there will be other people doing that right? Or what about asking one of your guy friends to go with you?”
“I already tried.” Grace scowled and sat back up. “They’re all to scared of Danno and Steve.”
“But they’ve already met them!”
“I know. It’s stupid.” Grace scowled as one of their mutual guy friends, ShenLi, one of the many distant cousins of the Kelly-Kalakaua clan, waved at them from the ocean. “You’d think at least ShenLi would be nice enough to go with me since he broke up with Maku. But no. He’s decided to go stag in protest of ‘emotional entanglements’ or some such non-sense.”
Lucy rolled her eyes. “Such a drama queen.”
The two girls looked at each other and suddenly burst out laughing. They were both used to ShenLi’s dramatic over reactions. Still, Grace was a little sad that he wouldn’t even think about going with her. She had no experience with boyfriends, so she supposed she didn’t really understand how much it would hurt to be betrayed as ShenLi had been when Maku refused to come out to his family and went along with his parents plans for an arranged marriage. But she wanted to think she understood at least a little after watching her parents marriage fall apart, Gabby letting Danny push her away, and Catherine choosing to leave Steve and Hawaii.
“What about your cousin, Eric? He’s here interning at the HPD right?”
“Ew, no. I'm not going to the prom with my cousin. That’s just too pathetic to handle on top of knowing every guy in the school has already refused to go with me.”
“Not all the guys,” came a soft voice from behind.
Grace and Lucy twisted around, looking up at the figure standing over them. “Billy?”
Billy was standing there, one hand holding his board and the other rubbing at his flushed cheeks, his gaze darting from Grace to the ocean and back rapidly. “I mean, you never asked me.”
Grace blinked, her mind trying to process just what was suddenly happening as Lucy grabbed her arm and practically squealed in delight. “You want to go with me?”
“I know I’m only sophomore, and you could totally do better, but I…ah…well, I’d be honored if you’d go with me.”
Grace blushed and licked her lips. She had known Billy since she was nine and he was seven. He had still been playing with G.I. Joe’s and plastic dinosaurs, and she had been into dolphins and surfing. She had never really thought about asking Billy. True he was two years younger than her, he was the son of her Danno’s first partner on the island and practically family. But it also meant that Danno and Steve wouldn’t scare off Billy from taking her. And she did really want to go.
“As friends,” she asked quietly.
Something flickered in Billy’s eyes before they shuttered like Steve’s did when anyone asked him about his time in the SEALs. “As friends.”
“Alright.” Grace blushed and glanced away, uncomfortable with the idea that she was getting a friend asking her out in pity. Even if said friend was as good looking, smart and reliable as Billy was. He was still a friend.
Billy nodded, still blushing and shifting in the sand. "Okay then. Just, ah, let me know what colors you pick out for your dress," Billy said in a rush before darting off towards the water and the waiting waves.
Two days later Grace was regretting her decision to go to the dance. True Danno and Steve had not been worried about Billy taking her as they would have been other boys, but going meant she had to deal with Danno moaning about how she was growing up and Lucy wanting to spend hours picking out the perfect dress. She supposed she should be grateful her mother was in Los Vegas right now, otherwise she would also be dealing with her and Danno arguing about how much money should be spent on a dress she would probably only get to wear once.
Instead she was hiding in a changing room while her best friend kept shoving dresses in at her and her Danno and Steve waited outside for her to step out and show each dress off. So far she had tried on seven different dresses and had, herself rejected four for being too princess-y, while Danno had vetoed the others for revealing too much skin, and Steve had rejected all of them because they had no good places to hide a canister of mace or one of his knives for her protection. She was getting tired and seeing Lucy shoving another pile of dresses, at least nine, in at her was making her want to call Billy and tell him she changed her mind.
But then she knew that Danno would be sad. He might be complaining about her growing up, but she knew he wanted her to be happy to experience all that life could offer her. So she put cell back into her purse and pulled on the next dress. She could do this.
Taking a deep breath she looked in the mirror in front of her, her cheeks turning pink. Cupping her face in her hands, Grace smiled and turned around. The long blue dress shifted to violet under the lights as she moved, the long opening at the back framing the gentle slope of her spine all the way to her hips, and the jeweled straps that went down her shoulders resting like a backwards necklace, sparkled like stars.
This was the one.
By the end of the prom Grace was grateful that's he hadn't given up, that she had gone through the hours of whining, complaints and too princessy dresses. She had found the perfect dress, she had gotten to see her Danno cry a little, though he complained about sand getting in his eyes, and had had a wonderful night spent with her friends eating and dancing. And when their feet had gotten too tired and sore, they had kicked off their heels, picked up their hems and had wondered down to the beach, laughing and talking around a bonfire that Billy and the guys built. It had been more fun than she thought it would be, and Billy had been the perfect date. He had brought her flowers, paid for diner, carried her shoes when her feet started to hurt and most importantly, he hadn't laughed at her dancing technique that she had learned from her Danno.
Smiling at him in the dancing, twisting light of the fire, Grace took his hand in hers. "Thank you for asking me, Billy."
Billy blushed, as he had several times during the night already, and squeezed her hand. "Thank you for saying yes."
Smiling wider Grace leaned in, resting her head against his sturdy shoulder, his hand still firmly clasped in her own.